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Rolling Meadows IL criminal defense attorneyIf you have picked up any newspaper or turned on cable news in the past few days, you have likely heard that actor/comedian Bill Cosby was released from prison this week after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 sexual assault conviction. In its decision, the court wrote that Cosby’s due process rights were violated. While many legal scholars have agreed that the court made the right decision, many people across the country, including Cosby’s accusers, are outraged by the decision and Cosby’s freedom.

The Case

In 2018, a Pennsylvania jury found Cosby guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting a victim in his home in 2004. In 2005, the victim went to the police about the assault, but no criminal charges were pressed. The following year, the victim and Cosby reached a $3.4 million settlement in a civil lawsuit.

Several years after the settlement agreement, the Associated Press (AP) sued and won to have Cosby's depositions in the civil case unsealed. There were also dozens of women who came forward, alleging that Cosby drugged and raped them, too. New prosecutors were interested in bringing criminal charges against the actor; however, the only case that fell within the statute of limitations was the victim from the 2004 incident.

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Chicago theft defense attorneyIt should come as no surprise that taking property that does not lawfully belong to you is a criminal offense, and in Illinois, you could face misdemeanor or felony theft charges depending on the circumstances. However, you may be unaware that simply having stolen property in your possession can also be a crime, even if you are not the person who originally stole it. It can come as a shock to be charged with possession of stolen property, especially if you were not aware that it was stolen. In these cases, you should work with an attorney who can help you present a strong defense to the charges you are facing.

Illinois Law Regarding Possession of Stolen Property

The Illinois Criminal Code defines several different actions that are considered criminal theft. Most of them involve actively seizing another person’s property, whether by threat, force, deception, or without the person’s knowledge. However, state law also makes it a crime to “obtain control over stolen property” if the recipient knows that it is stolen or should reasonably be aware that it is stolen.

This means you could be charged if someone tells you they stole something and gives it to you or asks you to hold onto it, but you could also be charged even if you were not told directly that the property was stolen. If you are sold property at a price that seems too good to be true, or if someone tries to sell you a car without title documentation, for example, you could be held responsible for failing to recognize the suspicious nature of the transaction.

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Chicago, IL criminal defense attorneyOver the last year, the use of no-knock search warrants in criminal cases has come under increased scrutiny due to the risk of harm to innocent and vulnerable people who may be on the property. In fact, many cities and police departments have started to ban the practice outright. However, the State of Illinois still allows no-knock warrants under some circumstances, and if your property is subject to a warrant, it is crucial that you understand your rights.

When Can a Search Warrant Be Issued in Illinois?

The Fourth Amendment in the U.S. Bill of Rights provides protection from unreasonable search and seizure, meaning that law enforcement cannot simply search a person’s property on a whim. In most cases, officers will first need to obtain a search warrant, and in order to do so, they must demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime will be found on the property. Warrants are often used in cases involving drug possession and distribution, illegal weapons possession, stolen property, and kidnapping, among others.

Usually, before executing a warrant, police are required to attempt to make their presence known to occupants of the property by knocking and announcing themselves. However, a no-knock warrant is an exception to this rule. In order to obtain a no-knock search warrant in Illinois, officers must demonstrate that giving notice would make it likely that an occupant would either destroy evidence or use a weapon against an officer or someone else on the property.

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Rolling Meadows gun crime defense attorneyIn Illinois and throughout the U.S., people have the constitutional right to bear arms. However, that does not mean the possession of firearms and other weapons is unregulated. Illinois prohibits the possession of certain kinds of weapons outright and requires gun owners to obtain a Firearm Owners ID card (FOID) in order to be in compliance with state law. If you have been convicted of a felony in Illinois or another state, your FOID can be revoked, and future applications for an FOID can be denied. You may also face serious criminal penalties if you are found to be in unlawful possession of a weapon with a previous felony conviction on your record.

What Types of Weapons Are Prohibited for Convicted Felons?

As with all people in the State of Illinois, convicted felons are prohibited from knowingly possessing certain kinds of dangerous weapons under any circumstances, including bludgeons, metal knuckles, throwing stars, and switchblades. However, convicted felons are, under most circumstances, also prohibited from possessing any kind of firearm or ammunition, even those that are legally permitted in Illinois under other circumstances. The only exception is a situation in which a felon has successfully appealed for relief in court or with the Director of the Illinois State Police.

Consequences for a Felon’s Unlawful Possession of a Weapon 

The basic sentence for unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon in Illinois is a Class 3 felony, which can include between 2 and 10 years in prison. For repeat offenses, the sentence increases to a Class 2 felony, and the length of imprisonment increases to between 3 and 14 years. However, under certain circumstances, a first offense can be charged as a Class 2 felony. This includes cases in which the offender’s prior conviction was for:

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Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney marijuana DUI

Few substances have been the subject of as much confusion and controversy as cannabis. Some tout the drug as a useful medication while others see cannabis as a dangerous “gateway drug.” Adding to the general confusion about marijuana is the fact that, despite being fully legalized in 15 U.S. states, the drug is still classified as an illicit controlled substance under federal law. The recreational use of marijuana in Illinois became legal on January 1, 2020. However, the possession, sale, cultivation, and consumption of cannabis are still regulated by Illinois law. It is therefore possible to face serious criminal charges related to marijuana in Illinois.

Important Restrictions on Cannabis Use in Illinois

For a little over a year now, the recreational use of marijuana has been legal in Illinois. Individuals 21 years or older may purchase up to 30 grams of cannabis flower or 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. However, it is unlawful to consume cannabis on school property or in government buildings, parks, public transportation, and where smoking is already banned under the Smoke Free Illinois Act.

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